Originally written on Extra Pine Tar  |  Last updated 11/14/14

If you’re not happy with the production you’re getting from the outfielders on your team there’s no reason to fret. Outfielders are like wide recievers – there’s more than enough of them to go around. Guys like Carlos Gomez (reigning National League player of the week) and Justin Ruggiano are owned in a little over half of ESPN leagues. Gomez has been on a ridiculous tear of late (even with missing out on this home run) and I don’t see anything wrong with riding a hot streak. But Ruggiano is the one I’m most excited about.

I love players who take forever to figure it out. Ruggiano is 30 years old and until this year had never recieved regular playing time. Hell, the only reason he played regularly this year was because of all the injuries and underperforming going on in Miami. While Emilio Bonafacio was out the 30 year old filled in very nicely, but there was always that hesitation to add him on my part because the return of Bonafacio loomed. Well now he’s officially the everday center fielder. I guess all he ever had to do was hit .355 with 8 homers and 8 stolen bases over 49 games to become and everyday MLB player. You would think he would have just done that from the beggining so he didn’t have to kick around the minors until he was 30.

What’s that? Those guys are taken? Your league is too deep and Matthew Berry won’t leave your apartment ever since he showed up to your draft party out of nowhere? He won’t give you fantasy advice because he’s too high on bath salts and only wants to eat your face?

It’s a strange situation you’ve got yourself in to but I can dig it.

That’s why I’m going to give you three players owned in under 10% of ESPN leagues that can help your team right away. Dominic Brown you may have heard about from that strung out drug addict who hasn’t left your apartment since the draft party. He’s the future in Philly, the reason they told Hunter Pence to kick rocks and ready or not – he’s the man now. Philly may have sold at the deadline but they have bought in completely on the young lefty and I don’t blame them. Just looking at the kid you can see the potential dripping off him like the sweat from John Lackeys brow as he tries to decide whether to go with the 20 or 40 piece bucket of chicken.

The talent has yet to materialize completely at the big league level but Brown has never had an oppourutniyt like this before. For better or worse he is going to be in the outfield every game going forward. His minor league stats and scouting reports show a big, young player who can hit for average, steal bases and – when he’s feeling good in the box – hit the ball out of the park on a regular basis. He’s billed as a five tool player and has been since he was in high school. Now we will have to wait and see if it all comes together this year, but if your looking for outfield help – there will be no higher reward than if Brown plays like everyone is hoping he does.

My other two -10% players i’m not nearly as high on, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help your team in a big way – even if it’s only for a short amount of time. Stephen Lombardozzi where’s many hats for the Nationals. He’s eligible in both the infield and the outfield and over the month of July he hit .293 – including .320 over the last week. Mix in the 12 RBI’s, 8 runs and 3 stolen bases and that’s a pretty good month for a guy who just started playing everyday on July 14th.

Mike Carp has been on fire since returning from the minors. I’m talking .458 with 6 RBI’s and 5 R in the last week. He’s always been streaky but maybe he’s finally figured it out. Either way, you can ride this thing till the wheels fall off.

How about we head over and take a look at the outfield in Pittsburgh. There are four guys in Starling Marte, Travis Snider, Garret Jones and Alex Presley who will battle it out for the priveledge to play alongside Andrew McCutchen.  Presley will most likely be the odd man out with Jones being able to play first but this is a situation that bears monitoring because all of these players have shown that they can be viable contributors. Also, Jose Tabata – the Pirates former leadoff man – is down in the minors and apparently has started to put it together. Whether that means he’ll rejoin the big club or not we don’t know. But there is clearly some talent out in Pittsburgh.

On the injury front, Coco Crisp and Jayson Werth are set to return soon. Werth started off 0-12 in his rehab but has picked it up of late and could be back as soon as Friday. There are even rumors that Davey Johnson will bat him leadoff. Which is bad news for his RBI production but much better for his runs and stolen base numbers.

Coco Crisp has salvaged what started off as a terrible season. Before the hamstring injury sidelined him, Crisp was absolutely on fire. He was scoring and driving in runs, stealing bases and steadling raising his batting average above .250. For the month of July he hit a gaudy .342 with 3 homeruns. The 3 homeruns may not seem like much but when you consider he only had 2 until that point it puts those 3 in to a better light.

 

 

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